CITY workers that have ditched the hustle and bustle for a life on the road with a campervan have shared top tips for anyone considering the lifestyle.
While it might not suit everyone, these adventurous travel experts want to convert more people to what they dub #VanLife.
But life on wheels isn’t as perfect as some of the Instagram pictures make out, and without proper planning the road trip dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Ed Bassett, Head of Wanderlust at Camptoo.co.uk – known as the Airbnb of campervans – reckons that planning ahead is an essential part of life on the road.
He said: “There is a huge amount of freedom that comes with having your very own home and office on wheels, however it’s always good to have a plan.
“Thanks to the growing popularity of camping and campervanning, campsites are getting booked up earlier than ever and that’s even through the winter and shoulder seasons when, increased, campsites would be quieter.
“So we always recommend booking as soon as possible to ensure the best possible prices and availability at your chosen campsite or pitch.”
Emma Orlando, known as @emmaorlando, traded in a corporate job in advertising four years ago to travel, before making the jump to vanlife a year ago.
She said: “I love the seamless connection between my office and nature when on the road.
“When you open the doors of the van, you’re amongst nature instantly – it’s better than the concept most city dwellers embrace of ‘bringing the outdoors in’, instead you are completely immersed in nature.
“I also love the community that comes with van life. You’re always meeting new, like-minded people on the road who are always there to help.”
That’s not to say that life on the road is completely rosy though.
She added: “As much as I’d love to say that van life is perfect, things can, and often do, go wrong – whether that’s a burst tyre or you simply run out of gas. These things can’t be though, they simply come with the territory.
“It can also be pretty exhausting at times with all the planning ahead, whether that be your route, booking campsites or inquire waste disposal sites.
“Even just the long-distance driving in itself can become tiresome.”
For anyone interested in following her lead and swapping a life in the city for a campervan, she had some crucial advice.
Emma said: “My absolute top tip for anyone considering van life would be to always have backups of everything, whether that be a backup camping stove for when your gas runs out, a solar powered battery pack if your electrics stop working or a WiFi router that works on a different network to your phone so that you’re always covered on that front.
“It’s definitely better to be over-prepared than under.”
For Indie and Joel, a Swedish couple living full-time in a converted van, maintaining creature comforts while traveling is the best perk of living in a campervan.
They said: “Having the comfort of home but still being able to explore and see new places, meet new people and travel to new countries – there is nothing that can beat that.”
In order to make life easier, they suggest that newcomers to the camping scene become tech savvy.
They said: “We use a lot of apps that really make our lives easier.
“There’s an app called park4night that shows you all the places you’re allowed to park at, as well as laundry, water and electric facilities.
“We also use the app 1-2-3 Fuel which shows the cheapest fuel prices around. Both are essentials.”
Amy Nicholson, a freelance marketer and #VanLifer goes by the name @freelance_amy on Instagram one of the main benefits of living in a van is the freedom to roam.
She said: “If I find myself unhappy somewhere, I can simply move
on. I have everything I need in my van with me.
“As such I find myself saying yes to more adventures!”
But a key to success is taking the time to pick the right van for you, and making sure it has everything you need to feel at home.
Amy said: “Make your van as homely as possible – my van is my home, my office, my sanctuary, my vehicle, my everything.
“Little things like my mini blender, candles, and my goose down duvet make it a much more enjoyable space to be in.”
Then there’s Sophie, who has turned her vanlife into a 50,000 following on Instagram, where she goes by the name @challengesophie.
Sophie travels in a VW MWB – a spacious ride where she can store all of her outdoor gear as she’s always trying out some sort of outdoor activity, whether it’s cross country skiing, wild swimming or mountain biking.
She said: “As an adventure athlete, having a van felt like a natural progression – a little home on wheels that feels like ‘my space’ filled with my adventure gear, so I’m ready for anything.
“It’s not plain sailing, but life is for living and giving things a go. It might not work out, but it will be a great adventure on the way.”